Construction has begun on a new multi-million-pound health centre in Hornchurch, after the Government gave the major project the go-ahead. 

To be built on the former St George’s Hospital site in Suttons Lane, St George’s Health and Wellbeing Hub is designed to deliver a range of health, social care and community services, with facilities including a community café and a sensory, dementia-friendly communal garden. 

Contractors had already begun clearing the site, though the North East London Health and Care Partnership was awaiting approval from the Government before construction work could begin. 

The project has now been given the green light, and on Friday (December 2), a ceremony was held marking the official start of work on the new hub. 

Following the event, Zina Etheridge, chief executive at the North East London Health and Care Partnership, said the team are “absolutely thrilled that work can finally get under way on this fantastic new health centre after years of planning and consultation with local people. 

“Providing a range of health and care services in one place, right in the heart of the community, will make an enormous difference to so many people’s lives both now and in the future.” 

Cllr Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council, added: “This is an exciting and much-anticipated day for local residents and the borough.  

“The building of a new health and wellbeing hub will bring together some additional first-class facilities for this part of the borough.  

“It means many residents who currently have to travel to different parts of Havering for their health needs will now have them on their doorstep.” 

More than £17 million of government money has been put into the project. Health Secretary Steve Barclay said that, once complete, it will provide a one-stop-shop to improve both physical and mental wellbeing for local people in North East London – from early diagnostic services for cancer, to mental health support and spaces for community groups to meet. 

Julia Lopez, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster who was also in attendance, added: "[The NHS project team] have been incredible in their vision and persistence, and I have enjoyed working tenaciously together with them through the pandemic and supply chain pressures to get this hub started."

The hub is expected to be completed by March 2024. 

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